(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)
An unusual but touching show, and the second-to-last (if I remember rightly) thing I saw at this year’s Fringe. I didn’t fully expect what I got going in, but I left with a smile on my face.
The script was lovely, with natural dialogue, and an easy frequent humour. It had those true-to-life type of eccentric characters that most of us encounter in our day-to-day lives. Eccentricity is always fun but eccentricity that keeps one foot firmly planted in reality is a more delicate and impressive thing to pull off. Dolly did it very successfully. It was not above more surreal scenes, with the cow-mask scene coming particularly to mind, but always returned to the real word of concern and consequences. The plot was simultaneously silly and serious, and as I’ve said, really rather touching by its conclusion.
The cast were superb across the board. Aaron O’Farrell was an emotional powerhouse in the lead role of Joe, providing the most moving dancing to Dolly Parton that I’ve ever seen. Martina McCormack, as his mother, was a bottomless pit of comic timing and talent while still being utterly sincere wherever needed. The rest of the cast revolved around them faultlessly and I have nothing but good thoughts about this entire cast as a group of performers.
My only criticisms are the usual things. There were times were it slowed down a little, or laboured over certain points that didn’t need it, but these moments were few enough not to be a major problem. As with many shows I’ve seen, it would be a simple matter of minor script revisions to iron them out.
Most certainly a unique show, and unique in almost all the right ways, it’s yet another one I’ll remember fondly from this year for having a very particular charm.